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George Mason was an American patriot who participated in the American Revolution and the Constitutional Convention and who was influential in penning the Bill of Rights.
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In his home state of Virginia, he rallied against ratification of the final draft of the U.S. Constitution, and he never did sign it. His criticism of the rights given to the federal government over the people and states helped bring about the Bill of Rights as an addendum to the Constitution (although his earlier idea for a bill of rights was rejected). The Constitution was approved by a vote of 89 to 79 in September 1787 (Mason went back to Gunston Hall soon after) and was effected March 4,
In December 1791, the U.S. Bill of Rights was ratified, putting to rest Mason's concerns about the rights of the individual, and he died less than a year later.
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They are American icons—they're on our dollars and coins, they are the subject of our monuments, and we live our daily lives in the world their ideas helped create. America's Founding Fathers include George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and, of course, Benjamin Franklin. These men, together with several other key players of their time, structured the American democracy and left a legacy that has shaped the world. But beyond their legends, these men were human beings who led complex and fascinating lives. Learning their stories helps us better understand what made them tick, as well as their influence on our world today.
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